This 1999 email exchange with The Evil Dead‘s very groovy Bruce Campbell was my first of two conversations that I would have with the King of the B-Movies. It was also one of my very earliest interviews [and noticeably so].
Bruce used to keep a Manifesto on his site that, in his words, was a “compendium of information culled from previous interviews, Frequently Asked Questions, and assorted personal ramblings…meant to provide both the casual and professional inquirer (Fan or Reporter) with a myriad of hopefully useful background information.” He was willing to answer any question sent to him (be it from Fan or Reporter) as long as it hadn’t already been covered on the Manifesto.
When I emailed Bruce and asked if he would be willing to submit to an interview he asked me to send him “ten amazing questions” and he would see what he could do. The following interview is what resulted.
Bruce Campbell has always gone out of his way to stay accessible his fans. He is a mainstay of the convention circuit where he always engages fans and signs autographs, and for those who cannot make it out to see him at one of his many appearances across the US, he maintains a web presence at BruceCampbell.com. The site is a one-stop shopping spot for all things Campbell including a meticulously detailed listing of all of his past and current projects, editorials and think-pieces written by the man himself, as well as image and sound galleries that would make any Campbell Completist a happy one.
Another staple of the site is the Bruce Campbell Manifesto. Anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the man, the myth and the Evil Dead series of films. And it’s because of this comprehensive collection of questions and answers that he tends not to do too many interviews. The Manifesto is a resource for fans and journalists alike and any section of it may be reproduced for just such a purpose. a purpose which, I believe, saves Bruce from answering the same questions over and over again ad nauseam.
So when I hit him up with an interview request, the email I received back said that I should peruse the Manifesto, and send “ten amazing questions” that are not currently featured therein. What you see below is what we came up with.
I had the option of including excerpts from the Manifesto to fill in the blanks, but I chose to print the interview as is. I felt that the transcript format made the most sense to me. I mean, an email interview by any other name…right?
And if you are interested in finding out more about Bruce, or want to follow up on anything that is mentioned here, I’ll include a link to the Manifesto here and you can go check it out later.
MIKE JOZIC: I believe it was Danny Aiello who once said that television was a rushed medium and, as a result, the end product is never as good as it could be. Having done work in both film and television, how would you say the two compare in content and quality?
BRUCE CAMPBELL: He is most correct. I think people would be astounded if they saw how rushed it was. I feel that if I can do good work in television, I can do good work anywhere…
JOZIC: Do you prefer one over the other and why?
CAMPBELL: …having said that, I have become accustomed to the fast pace. Film sets can be deathly slow, where things are over-worked or over-thought. At some point, ya just gotta get it done…
JOZIC: I recently watched the X-Files episode “Terms Of Endearment” again, and I was wondering – considering your background – if you had ever been approached by Chris Carter and Ten Thirteen prior to this last season?
CAMPBELL: Nope. I had to lobby to get that role. I was not the first choice by far. TV is very proprietary.
JOZIC: What was it that attracted you to the episode, and the character of Wayne Weinsider?
CAMPBELL: I read the script after I lobbied to get on the show and was pleased that it was a juicy supporting role. That’s how the inside track works sometimes. Politics and schmoozing first – work later.
JOZIC: I think the last film project I saw your name attached to was the straight-to-video Power.com and I was wondering if you had anything more high-profile – as in theatrical release – in the works, or if you plan to stick to doing the television for awhile?
CAMPBELL: Look deeper (as in my website) and you will find that I had nothing to do with that film. I am no longer concerned at all about “profile.” I am only concerned about a creative working environment. If it means TV, or New Zealand – so be it.
[It turns out that Power.com is actually the Canadian title for the film Menno’s Mind, a TV movie in the US getting its first release up north on home video in 1999 and featuring a performance by Mr. Campbell]
JOZIC: I also hear that you’ve done some work on the new Army of Darkness: Special Edition coming out from Anchor Bay this October. How did you get involved with that, and what kind of goodies are you contributing?
CAMPBELL: I’m the Co-Producer, so it seemed appropriate to get involved. I made sure that the new version was the 96 minute director’s cut. I also did commentary and dug up some deleted scenes and there will be storyboards as well.
JOZIC: How are things going on the Hercules and Xena front, especially since this is the last season for Hercules?
CAMPBELL: Herc is done. I directed the series finale. I am very happy with the work on that show for the last 5 years. Xena will forge ahead and I’m sure I’ll come and go on that one as well.
JOZIC: On your website, you mentioned that you were in the process of writing a book, Confessions of a B-Movie Actor. You said that all the information you could, would, and should reveal is that it has a release date in September, 1999. I was hoping you might give us a bit of a progress report.
CAMPBELL: The first draft is done! Re-writes are happening now and I will turn it in this fall for Spring 2000 release. I will also be doing heavy promotion early that year and will be involved in the graphics, pictures, etc.
JOZIC: What was the last movie you’ve seen; the best recent movie you’ve seen; and, of course, the worst current movie you’ve seen?
CAMPBELL: I saw Austin Powers most recently and laughed. I liked Rushmore because it was very different. Everything else sucked…
JOZIC: Do you ever think that somewhere out there is that breakout film or series that will make you a household name and place you on the front of cereal boxes and underoos, or does the thought of that, even in the hypothetical, hold little to no interest for you?
CAMPBELL: It no longer holds any interest at all. I have realized in the last couple of years that this type of search is unhealthy and doesn’t promote peace of mind. I am also concerned with our society’s fixation with one-dimensional definitions of success. I’d like to think that happiness is success, and I like being just a working actor. Anything beyond that, for me, is a waste of time.